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Dr. Maerz wins Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching


Dr. John Maerz was awarded the 2011 Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. The Richard B. Russell Foundation established the Russell Awards in honor of Georgian and university alumnus Richard B. Russell. The purpose is to recognize excellence in undergraduate instruction at The University of Georgia by faculty members in their early academic careers. Only three awards are made each year.

Maerz, an associate professor of wildlife, focuses his teaching and research on vertebrate ecology. “I am genuinely honored to have been selected for the Russell award, and really grateful to all the students and colleagues that provided letters of support,” he said. “I hope my receipt of this award demonstrates that value Warnell places on undergraduate instruction, and the efforts we put into new ways to engage students in and outside the classroom.”

The announcement was made by Jere Morehead, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, whose office administers the awards program.

The Russell Awards recognize excellence in undergraduate instruction by faculty members in their early academic careers. Three awards are made each year, with each awardee receiving $5,000 from the Richard B. Russell Foundation.

Maerz came to UGA in 2005 and teaches undergraduate courses in herpetology and animal behavior, as well as an Honors Gateway Seminar for Natural Sciences Research. A member of the inaugural Writing Fellows program at UGA, he provides students many opportunities to write in his classes and also is committed to student-led problem solving using a variety of techniques in both large and small classes. He actively involves undergraduates in his research program and has been recognized with a mentor award by UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

The Russell Awards, named for the long-serving senator from Georgia, were established by the Russell Foundation and first presented in 1991.

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